Tillage field day

Tillage Options on Display at Field Day

More than 200 farmers took part in a unique event designed to demonstrate the value and impacts of various tillage techniques. The Total Tillage Solutions Field Day drew farmers from several counties to the Jeff Olson farm near Madison, Minn., on Thursday. Put on by the University of Minnesota Extension and sponsored in part by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, the field day offered a unique opportunity to better understand options, advantages and challenges of different tillage equipment options.
In the past decade, there have been many new equipment choices brought to the market. They operate at several depths and create different intensities of soil disturbance that can affect fertilizer, weed, residue and planting management.
The field day used four customized soil pits to demonstrate different management techniques to help producers better understand their tillage options. The pits, using backfill of alternating dark and light soil layers, helped visualize the impact these implements are having below the soil surface. The pits showcased 11 different tillage implements, revealing a cross section of the soil and the disturbance each implement creates. Another station demonstrated the newest applications of UAV technology. Field demonstrations by major equipment manufacturers also took place.

STB rail hearing

Minn. Soybean Leader Asks STB for ‘Adequate and Timely’ Rail Service

Underwood, Minn., farmer and American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Lance Peterson joined other concerned growers Thursday, Sept. 4, in Fargo, N.D., at a public hearing before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to testify on rail service issues and the negative impacts on soybean growers. As the backlog of rail cars in the upper Midwest continues, many elevators are still full of 2013-crop grain ahead of a looming 2014 harvest. This backlog negatively affects basis levels and cash bids, and could create a grain storage crisis as a new crop harvest begins.

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Pope County Soybean Plot

Pope County Farmers Discuss Varieties at Plot Trials

Dozens of Pope County farmers have a better understanding of what crop varieties they may plant in 2015 thanks to the Pope County Plot Event. More than 70 farmers and industry representatives toured the soybean and corn plots on Curt Dahlseng’s farm near Starbuck as seed company representatives shared variety and genetic information.

After the tour of varieties in this year’s plot, Pope and Douglas County FSA Director Grant Herfindahl discussed this year’s farm bill decisions and urged the farmers to be in conversation with their local FSA offices about communications they receive from the USDA.

To wrap things up, Joe Smentek, Minnesota Soybean Director of Environmental Affairs, spoke during supper about EPA’s Waters of the U.S.

“The proposed rule does not clarify waters of the U.S. any more than the current Supreme Court cases,” Smentek said. “It is important for farmers to be engaged in these discussions because it could have ramifications in the future for farmers in caring for their land.”

The Pope County Corn and Soybean Growers Association is affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who directs the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of Minnesota’s soybean farmers.

soybean pod

Meints: Another Tool in the GMO Discussion

I’d like to take a moment to highlight a recent article posted on AgProfessional Friday, August 26.


Paul Meints

The article introduces the searchable Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas (GENERA) a privately funded project of Biology Fortified, Inc. a non-profit entity engaged in discussion on biological issues in agriculture. Their current work shows that half of all GMO focused research is funded by government agencies and independent non-profit organizations suggesting that unbiased research into GMO safety is ongoing. This is in contrast to common anecdotal reporting that all GMO research is funded by entities that profit from the science and thus result in pro-GMO bias.

As you continue to talk with friends and neighbors who may not be involved in agriculture, have in your memory facts about the science of agriculture and resources such as the one listed here. Use these to help them search for and understand the truth about the crops we produce.

Dr. Paul Meints is the Research Program Manager at MN Soybean and has an MS in plant breeding and genetics and a PhD in Seed Physiology.

farm bill

Farm Bill webinars Continue to Deliver

The second in a series of three Farm Bill 2014 webinars wrapped up Tuesday with strong farmer participation. Minnesota Soybean Growers Association director Theresia Gillie, from Kittson County, was among hundreds of participants who joined the webinar, hosted by Farm Market Analyst Al Kluis, Farm Management Analyst Kent Thiesse and FSA staff.

“A lot of people have been on the webinars and there have been a lot of good questions,” Gillie said.

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Douglas County FSA

Local FSA Director Speaks at Douglas County Plot Event

The Douglas County Soybean & Corn Growers had a good turnout at their county plot tour Thursday. Seed company representatives shared variety and genetics information, Grant Herfindahl, FSA Director of Douglas & Pope Counties, spoke on the timing of Farm Bill implementation and what that might mean for local growers and a pork chop dinner was served.

Concerning farm program sign-up, Herfindahl said he is hoping it will run after growers finish harvesting this year’s crop so they can have ample time to make decisions on what programs to sign-up for. He also says the sign-up is likely to flow into the next year.

He went on to answer questions about the programs and about the current crop in Douglas County.

“This year there is about 12,000 prevent plant acres in Douglas County. Normally, there are 170,000 acres planted in the county. And compared to the approximately 72,000 planted acres of corn we’ve seen the last couple of years in the county,” Herfindahl said, “this year there is only 45,000 planted acres of corn. So it seems there is a lot more acres of soybeans than in the recent past.”

Herfindahl will also be speaking to farmers at the Pope County Plot Tour Tuesday, Sept 2. The event will be held near the Dahlseng farm near Starbuck at 5 pm.


Comment Period Open On Weed Management Technologies

USDA is now accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Monsanto’s next generation dicamba-tolerant weed management technologies, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ Soybeans.

It is important that the USDA follow through on its commitment to U.S. farmers to conduct timely, science-based reviews of new technologies. Access to technology keeps U.S. agriculture productive, sustainable and globally competitive.

We encourage farmers, dealers and all stakeholders to make their voice heard and weigh in during the 45-day public comment period, now open until September 25.

To simplify the process of submitting comments, Monsanto has created a webpage with a tool to help individuals develop their letter. For convenience, individuals can either use the suggested draft as is, edit the suggested statements or develop a unique letter.

We encourage individuals to personalize this letter by describing their background and their need for new tools, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ Soybeans, to control and manage weeds. Positive comments will help support the USDA’s determination to provide farmers the choice to plant these new technologies.

The Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System is designed to help maximize weed control through effective and sustainable weed management options. Pending regulatory approvals, the system will consist of dicamba- and glyphosate-tolerant soybean and cotton seed products, as well as enhanced, low-volatility dicamba and dicamba/glyphosate herbicide formulations. Visit the Roundup Ready PLUS website to learn more.

STB rail hearing

Surface Transportation Board to Hold Hearing in Fargo

Minnesota soybean farmers are keeping up their pressure to ensure adequate rail transportation for fall harvest.

Lance Peterson

Lance Peterson

MSGA and ASA Director Lance Peterson of Underwood will testify at the Surface Transportation Board hearing on rail issues in Fargo, N.D., next week. Peterson will address the need to move grain out ahead of and during harvest. His comments will be an update on the testimony he delivered earlier this spring in Washington to the STB.

 The backlog of rail cars to move grain out of the upper Midwest continues, leaving many elevators still full of 2013-crop grain ahead of a looming 2014 harvest. The backlog is negatively affecting basis levels and cash bids, and is likely to create a real grain storage crisis once new crop harvest begins, further impacting producers.

Minnesota Capitol

MSGA Working to Stay on Top

For the last year, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has held the title of the largest soybean membership association in the country. MSGA has grown to over 4,000 members. The membership goal for Minnesota, set by the American Soybean Association (ASA), is 4,109 members by October 1. Because of membership expirations, MSGA is about 200 members short.

 Recruiters across the state are working to connect with their neighbors and local businesses to communicate the value of membership.

 “We are really working to make sure farmers and agri-businesses understand the value that MSGA brings,” says Veronica Bruckhoff, Minnesota Soybean Director of Industry Affairs and Membership. “It’s about having a voice in St. Paul and Washington on issues like B10 in Minnesota and the new farm bill in Washington. It’s important that we advocate for issues that are good for agriculture. But the value goes beyond policy, because we’re doing more in the area of producer education through statewide meetings and webinars.”

 Signing up to be a member or renewing a membership is easier than ever thanks to updates made to the Minnesota Soybean website. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an MSGA membership

Northwest Minnesota variety trial

Another Look in the Field: Variety Selection Questions are About to Begin

It is nearly September, which means that the first contacts for varietal selection and seed purchases for next year are soon to begin. Between now and the end of harvest, you will likely be visited by your local seed dealers or company representatives concerning what you will be planting next year. These initial commitments are often requested before a combine has entered the field for you as a grower and most likely for the seed companies as well. The importance of deciding what varieties you will grow next year cannot be overstated. As you receive these visits, I’d like to encourage a few considerations.

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